In what pretty much amounts to a “coup” for long-troubled OWN which has been trying to shed those words “long troubled” even before launch, the network has signed Tyler Perry to a two-series deal. Both are slated to launch next year. He'll write and direct both.
What this means for Perry's longtime home TBS is probably a question TBS is urgently asking itself right now, but what it means for OWN is probably good. Perry's a hit machine who hasn't traditionally gotten a whole lot of love from critics but more than enough from fans: Mabel “Madea” Simmons is pretty much a cultural fixture (seriously, the sass-talkin' momma genuinely is) and “Tyler Perry's House of Payne” has been a six-years-and-still-running-strong success for TBS.
Per Oprah in a statement:
“We are all energized by the opportunity to collaborate with Tyler who has a proven track record for producing highly successful cable series. He has an incredible ability to illuminate life stories and characters in his unique voice and inspires and encourages people all over the world.”
Meanwhile, just to add a little balance to this post - and we all like balance, don't we? - spokeswoman for OWN says the light at the end of the tunnel was seen a long time ago.
The network has had "three consecutive quarters of year-over-year ratings growth — that's 9 consecutive months -- and we've had some of our highest ratings ever for 'Oprah's Next Chapter' these past few months (the Rihanna, Kelsey Grammar, Gabby Douglas and Usher episodes all hit above a 1.0 rating in our key women 25-54 demo). "
She added that "Welcome to Sweetie Pie's" an OWN-homegrown series, hit a series high this past September when it returned to the schedule, while "Iyanla: Fix My Life" was OWN's most viewed premiere yet.